Can u take ibuprofen if you have asthma?

When it comes to managing asthma, every little thing matters- even medication. So if you’re an asthmatic and need to take ibuprofen for pain relief, you might be wondering: “Can I safely use this drug without aggravating my asthma symptoms?”
Let’s dive into the nitty-gritty of this question and find out!

Understanding Asthma:

First things first- let’s understand what asthma really is. Simply put, it’s a chronic respiratory disease that affects millions of people worldwide. It occurs when the airways in your lung become inflamed and narrow making breathing difficult.
Most people with asthma experience episodic periods in which they have shortness of breath, wheezing or coughing due to environmental triggers like dust, pollen or pet dander.

Fun Fact: Did you know that pink puffers are patients with emphysema who breathe rapidly while blue bloaters are those with chronic bronchitis whose lips turn blue? The two terms were coined by David N. Hutiinson.

What is Ibuprofen?

Ibuprofen is a widely used Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug (NSAID) known for its analgesic (pain relieving) properties as well as anti-inflammatory effects in high doses(>200mg). It’s used for treating headaches, toothache arthritis cramps and much more! But wait there’s more..

Did you Know: For some women taking birth control pill containing estrogen + progestin may decrease plasma concentration of ibuprofen thus reducing analgesic effect

How Does Ibuprofen Work

Molecularly similar to aspirin (See Box 1 [Reference: Salient features]) , ibuprofen acts on specific enzymes called COX (Cyclooxygenase) enzymes responsible for inflammation synthesis/protection of gastric mucosa by inhibiting their action. This prevents the production of prostaglandins (See Box 2[Fun Fact]) which are hormone-like substances responsible for pain, inflammation and fever

Box 1: Salient Features
– Molecular weight: 206.29 g/mol
– Chemical name : (RS)-2-(4-isobutylphenyl)propionic acid
– IUPAC Name: [(±)-2-(p-isobutylphenyl) propionic acid]
– Oral bioavailability >80%

Box 2: Fun Fact

The presence of prostaglandins causes menstrual cramps as well as labor pains in childbirth!

Can You Take Ibuprofen If You Have Asthma?

Here comes the million-dollar question [Heading} . The answer is a bit tricky , but let’s Give it to you straight:

Answer – It depends on the severity and control of your many other drugs,Ibuprofen does pose a potential risk to people with asthma.

Possible Risks Include:

  1. Inhalation or contact with ibuprofen may trigger an asthmatic attack due to irritant properties;
  2. Increased nasal congestion that may worsen asthma symptoms;
  3. Facilitate acute renal impairment especially at high doses
    4.Cautionary use recommended when sertraline + ibuprofen are used concomitantly.

Most importantly, People with uncontrolled or severe asthma should avoid taking most NSAIDs like Ibuprofen without medical advice

This video summarises how asthmatics need take care while using this medication

Can Asthmatics Take Ibuprofen? What Does Medical Science Say About It?

What Are The Common Side Effects Of Ibuprofen?

As with any drug, there are some possible side effects of taking ibuprofen, including:

  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Heartburn
  • Headache
  • Dizziness

Though less common but more severe side-effects may include bleeding from the gastrointestinal tract or hypersensitivity manifesting as hives

Fun Fact: According to research conducted on 11 white-tailed deer, ibuprofen is lethal at extremely high doses. So watch out you herbivores!

## How To Safely Use Ibuprofen

Here’s how you can safely take this drug without triggering your asthma symptoms.

  1. Always consult a licensed physician before starting medication.
  2. If approved for use by the doctor; strictly adhere to prescribed dosage.
    3.Avoid ingesting in high doses i.e >1200mg/day {~the amount approximately packed in two ‘four-maximum’ packs}
    4.Take with food to reduce potential gastric irritation.

If you experience any wheezing or breathing difficulties after taking this medication; stop taking it immediately and seek medical assistance.

Alternatives To Ibuprofen If You Have Asthma

If you’re uncomfortable about taking aspirin-like drugs such as ibuprofen due to their effects on prostaglandins , here are some safer alternatives (comparatively) :


Commonly known as Paracetamol,it’s one of the most commonly used pain killers worldwide that works by inhibiting COX activities in CNS rather than at the site of inflammation .Side effects occurrence is relatively low compared NSAIDs especially when taken concomitantly with alcohol(See Box: Fun fact)

: Fun Fact

Recent study showed acetaminophen ingestion increases an individual’s risk of kidney cancer


Steroids are used to reduce airway inflammation in asthmatics , they do not share the Cyclooxygenase pathway as Ibuprofen and hence could be used safely with regards to drug interaction.Ideally, this means that inhalers can be used for asthma symptoms relief instead of ibuprofen.


Physical therapy procedures like massage therapy or physiotherapy may also help to relieve pain without ingesting medication especially for musculoskeletal disorders.

What To Do If You Must Take Ibuprofen?

If there’s no other alternative than taking Ibuprofen, discuss your options with a medical professional. They’ll take into consideration the severity and control of your asthma before prescribing any non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs(NSAIDs). WHO recommends use Aspirin due its negligible effects on respiratory system when compared to other NSAIDS including ibprofen (See Box:source) .

Fun Facts about Aspirina

-Its chemical name is acetyl salicylic acid(ASA)

-It decreases risks associated with heart attack/strokes by lessening platelet aggregation (also see box in section “How Does Ibuprofen Work?”)

Box: Source
According to 2017 update guidelines provided by World Health Organisation (WHO), aspirin should preferred over ibprohen for patients at risk coronary artery disease.

## Final Thoughts:

Ibuprofen remains an effective way to control pain in many different types of ailments.And while it does pose some potential risks;reducing dosages,and working closely under consultation/advice from one’s physician makes use safer
As Always prevention being better than cure, leading proactive healthy lifestyles by flushing triggers will make management easier

Proactive measures such as these are fully described ata\ []

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